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I Am Not A Stepford Mom

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Why Moms Should Take Time for Themselves

Why Moms Should Take Time for Themselves.

Why Moms Should Take Time for Themselves

At some point between the first contractions and the first time we hold our babies, mommies suddenly develop a serious condition called “mommy guilt.” If left untreated, mommy guilt can have many side effects. Side effects include: loss of friendship, a compulsive need for wearing sweatpants, not leaving the house for so long that you forget how to interact with other adults, chronic spit up on clothing, an inability to stay awake, sudden codependence on coffee (in severe cases coffee consumption could be 5-8 cups per day), and sleeplessness. If you experience any (or all) of these symptoms you should immediately contact your best friend, manicurist, or massage therapist.

To treat “Mommy Guilt” you should routinely and unapologetically take time to do something just for you. Even if it is something as simple as a bubble bath, reading a chapter of that really interesting book you never have time to finish, going to the salon, dinner with a friend, or taking a walk. You should do this for the following reasons:

1.Your Sanity.

2. Your husband’s sanity.

3. When you do something just for you (go to a movie, dinner with friends, get a pedicure) you come back refreshed and with a new sense of well being that will give you more patience, more appreciation, and will let you be more fully present with your family.

4. You are teaching your kids to have their own identity and sense of self through your example.

5. You are letting your children know that it is ok to love and take care of yourself. They will need this permission for themselves later in life and it will lead to more well rounded, happier individuals.

6. It gives your children a chance to build relationships with other adults and teaches them to be comfortable without you. Let’s face it, there may come a time when you aren’t able to be around and your kids need the tools and experience to handle that.

7. It is important to hold on to your own identity. We all get wrapped up in our children but there will come a time when they will spread their wings, build their own relationships, pursue their own interests, and venture off into the wide world on their own. They will need us a little less. When that time comes we have to have something of ourselves left or we will be lost.

8. Because if you don’t have adult interaction, pretty soon you will only be able to communicate through childrens’ songs and baby talk.

9. Because sometimes Daddy’s need to see first hand all of the hard work we do so that they will be reminded what superhuman rockstars we really are and that things would fall apart without us.

10. Because it is just plain good for the soul.

I Am Not A Stepford Mom

I Am Not A Stepford Mom.

I Am Not A Stepford Mom

I am not crafty. I don’t do cookies baked from scratch, homemade crafts with the kids every day, a four course meal every night. I am one of those people who look at all of the creative and time consuming projects on pinterest and think, “in what universe would I ever have time for that?” I am in awe of the Stepford moms. You know them. The ones that manage to run a household, cook made from scratch four course meals each night, are always put together and manicured and highlighted, have date nights every week, have super well behaved children and still have time for crafty pinterest projects. But that is not me.

It takes me 3 days to finish a 30 minute show on DVR. I consider it a successful day if both kids get bathed, fed, and nobody has any broken bones. Sometimes I feel like the less than perfect mom because I have no idea how to fold fitted sheets and to be honest, I really have no desire to learn. I don’t have it all together. Getting all four of us out of the house with everything we need and looking semi-presentable to the public is not an easy task. Accomplishing this task usually entails meltdowns (not always the kids), bribes, threats, at least three trips back inside to get the things we forgot and lots of exasperated sighs. Some moms make it look so easy. How are they five minutes early to every event with clothes in pristine condition and a big smile plastered to their flawless faces? There is no evidence of a struggle. Not a hair out of place. No food on their clothes. Not a wrinkle or a tag sticking out of their shirt.And here I am just trying to keep it together. Bracing myself for a public tantrum, heart beating fast because I know my baby has missed her nap and believe me, that is NEVER a good thing. Do all moms feel this way or are there really moms who have it all together? My theory is that nobody has it all together, but some people are just way better at presentation than others. At least that is what I tell myself to make me feel better.

I am not a Stepford mom. Not by a long shot. But I was born for this job. Even on the worst days, my best days began when Landon was born and haven’t stopped since. I may not be the queen of pinterest and I am definitely not the best homemaker to ever exist. I question most of my decisions as a mom. But there are a few things I know that I am doing right.

My house may be cluttered with toys, but it is also cluttered with memories, laughter, and plenty of love. You can’t walk into our home without tripping over love.

We may not spend hours doing original crafty things every day, but we do hug a lot. We comfort each other. We listen to each other. We play. We cuddle. Our kids know that they are loved. It doesn’t matter how they are loved, it matters THAT they are loved. I may not cook full course organic meals each night, but my kids get fed. We have dinner together most of the time. I stress about my son not eating enough and my daughter making a mess by throwing her food on the floor. But secretly I am proud of their stubbornness and independence. We don’t do research-based developmental activities, learn second languages, or practice flashcards every evening when I get home from my first full time job (which does include all of those things). But they are learning. They learn through play, experience, conversation, and exploring. They are learning to say “I’m sorry” when they are wrong. They are learning to share. They are learning to be patient and wait their turn. They are learning to pray. They are learning to love books, stories, and the value of imagination. They are learning to express their feelings in a healthy way. They are learning what family is all about.

So even if my kids aren’t going to sleep each night in designer fitted sheets that have no wrinkles (because I can fold them impeccably of course), they go to sleep each night fed, happy, and loved. And what more could a mom ask for?

Life Lessons I Hope My Son Learns in Preschool

I cannot quite grasp the fact that my son has left the toddler years behind and is officially preschool aged. He is at such a fun age. He is slowly leaving behind the terrible twos (that have actually lasted almost four years!) and entering into personhood. His individuality emerges a little bit more each day. I love every second of it. At one point in time I was sure I was going to have the child that went to school and the teachers went running in the other direction. But as he grows, this incredible little person keeps revealing himself. He is so incredibly smart, caring, charismatic, thoughtful, funny, and silly. He has so many qualities that I admire. In a few short months he will be venturing off into the big, wide world of preschool. His first adventure all on his own. For the first time he will be left to his own devices. He will be out there surviving (and hopefully thriving) all on his own. As a mom, it is terrifying and miraculous at the same time. I can’t wait to watch him shine.

Landon: Now that you are four years old and  beginning to prepare for preschool, I hope you learn a few things  that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. This year, I hope you learn:

1.  how to shine as your own person in a crowd of other shining individuals.

2. to share your crayons. All on your own. Because you want to.

3. to embrace your voice and not be afraid to use it.

4. how to solve some conflicts on your own. It is ok to get angry, jealous, and have  hurt feelings. It is all about the way you deal with those feelings.

5. to be proud of your many strengths, accomplishments and talents and to share them freely.

6. to play, create, and imagine as much as possible.  We don’t do these things enough in our world.

7. to keep a sense of wonder about all of the things there are to learn.

8. the importance of being responsible for your little corner of the classroom (and world). If we all took care of our own space, the world would be such a better place.

9. that it is ok to question. To question everything. Think for yourself. Wonder. Never stop.

10. to stand your ground. Don’t let anyone push you around.

11. that manners are not overrated. Manners just make everything a little nicer.

12. that the friends worth keeping are the ones who not only tie your shoes for you, but try to teach you to tie them yourself.

13. To pick up toys/trash that you find on the floor. Even if you didn’t put it there.

14. To sing and dance and not care if anyone is watching.

15. to fall in love with reading. Books can open up a whole new universe of possibilities.

16. to be a good student and a good friend. Those two things will get you far in life.

17. that some people are going to be better than you at some things without even trying. Work harder.

18. that you will make mistakes. And that is perfectly ok. Just try to learn from them.

19. learn the difference between tattling and doing the right thing. Don’t be a tattletale, but never be afraid to speak up if you see something that isn’t right.

20.  to remember the you that you are right now. You love yourself, you have very few insecurities, you don’t overanalyze, you don’t judge other people. You belly laugh several times a day. Whatever you are interested in, you become fully immersed in. You love people, despite their flaws. In fact, you don’t even recognize their flaws. You freely give affection, you love to tell stories, you sing loudly and freely, you are curious, you find awe in many things that grown ups find mundane. You are not convinced that you can’t fly, turn invisible, or climb up the side of a building. You believe in possibility.

I know that there will come a time when some of these qualities begin to fade. They do in all of us. But try to hold on to them for as long as you can. Keep as much as your 4 year old self that you can, because the you that you are right now is absolutely perfect and I can’t wait to see the you that you will become.

What I Learned From My Mom

My mom is about as close to a saint as anyone I have ever encountered. She has amazing patience, limitless empathy and understanding, and tons of wisdom. Here are a few of the things I learned from both her words and her example growing up.

1. Always leave things better than you found them.

2. Be kind. Even when other people are not.

3. Life is short and can be flipped upside down in a heartbeat. Let go of the little things.

4. No matter how bad your day is, someone is always having a worse one. Be kinder than necessary to everyone you encounter because you never know what is going on in their lives.

5. You have to make mistakes in order to grow.

6. Forgive.

7. Always consider how your words and actions will affect others.

8. Do kind things for other people. And do them quietly.

9. Give your children the freedom and trust to make mistakes. This will also give them the opportunity to make the right choices.

10. Don’t waste time complaining.

11. Be comfortable spending time with yourself.

12. Pray. Sometimes faith is all you have.

13. Sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do. That’s life.

14. Family is the most important thing in the world. Lean on each other, don’t waste time bickering, and build each other up.

15. There are always at least two sides to every story. Try to see the other person’s point of view.

16. Always finish what you start.

17. Words are powerful. Choose them carefully.

18. Trust God. You might not always know the reason for everything but God knows what he is doing.

19. Listen.

20. Look at yourself. Reflect. Don’t always try to justify. Sometimes you have to put away your pride, let go of your stubborness, take responsibility, and admit your wrongs.